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Hungarian drug makers call health legislation unconstitutional

Hungary's National Alliance of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers asked President of the Republic László Sólyom not to sign new drug thrift legislation because it runs counter to the country's constitution, Bloomberg reported.

Richter Gedeon Nyrt, Hungary's biggest drug maker, announced the appeal today in a statement on the Budapest Stock Exchange (BÉT) website. The “drug thrift” legislation, passed by parliament on Monday, forces companies to pay Hungary's state-monopoly health insurer a 12% rebate on the subsidies they receive. Drug makers would also be required to pay a Ft 5 million annual licensing fee for salespeople and to compensate the state for governmental overspending on medicine.
Richter estimated that the legislation, in combination with other new taxes and subsidy cuts, would cut its 2007 profit by at least Ft 7 billion if enacted. Egis Nyrt, also based in Budapest, estimated profit would be Ft 3.6 billion lower next year.